Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meet My Friend Tom

A lot of assumptions get made when someone gives you an 18.64 lb. frozen turkey... It's assumed that: (1) you like to eat turkey...  (2) you have a freezer large enough to house the big bird... (3) you have a roasting pan big enough... (4) you even know how to roast a turkey. Of course, if the first assumption is correct, the others will take care of themselves one way or another. Today it all fell into place. I have to say, it was a pretty good feeling.

Turkeys In The House
We've cooked a total of 3 turkeys since we've been married (I say we, but I mean he). I don't even remember how the first one turned out, I only remember that it too was gifted to us, and we had one of our first petty arguments over it. It sounded something like this: "My mom always did it this way!" "Well, my mom always did it this other way!" etc. and ad infinitum. Hubs cooked it while I pouted.

The next two birds were purchased for our first-time hosting the family for Thanksgiving.* We bought 2 12-lb. kosher birds and Hubs cooked them in side-by-side Weber's in the back yard. All-in-all it went very well. The only hitch was that between the two birds there was exactly one (1) neck and no (0) giblets. Let's just say, the gravy was not all it could have been. Did I mention the pin-feathers? Lots and lots of pin-feathers.

Mine All Mine
This bird was mine start to finish and I'm pretty proud of it. It wasn't ground-shakingly flavorful, nor could you have called it tender or juicy. There were no herbs stuffed under the skin, and there was no stuffing sewn inside. It was just a turkey, basic and simple (and a teensy bit on the dry side). I made some mistakes, but no disasters. And the gravy? It rocked. Again, nothing remarkable about it, but it was rich and flavorful with a perfect consistency. I made a ton of it. I'm almost more proud of the gravy than the bird.

Roast Turkey & Gravy, without Stuffing
Page 403 in Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything, 1998 (also known around here as "the big yellow book"). I couldn't find any links to the recipe online, but I did find Mr. Bittman's Forty-Five-Minute Roast Turkey and well, I suggest making that one instead... it's fast and foolproof. There's even a video.

The Word From The Bird
So, what did I take away from this? What lessons were gleaned from this experience?
  • Roasting a turkey "off-season" is great practice in a zero-stress environment (yea!) 
  • My small roasting pan will easily take an 18-20 lb. turkey... yep, bring it on, I'm ready.
  • If I start the bird breast down, it'll get funny tan lines and look like it's wearing a striped shirt.
  • Don't trust the roasting-time charts. Start taking the temp earlier than you think you need to.
  • Nothing sticks to All-Clad. Nothing.
  • Great gravy can be made even without pan drippings and de-glazing.
  • Raw turkey liver is difficult to chop. Freeze it first. Or give it to the cat when no one's looking.
  • A great gravy can totally make up for dry turkey. Make a lot.
  • My All-Clad roasting pan is beautiful.
*Also the only time we ever hosted Thanksgiving at our house.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Post a Comment

Take a moment to say "Howdy!"... I'd love to hear from you!